Note: This review contains spoilers from Midnight Sun by Trish Cook.
What is happening? Have I suddenly become a review blog? This is my third consecutive review and let me tell you no one is more surprised than me! I think it’s just with coursework and essays and things on at the moment I am finding reviews most fun and easy to write so for now a review blog it is! Anyway, on to this latest review of Midnight Sun by Trish Cook, which unfortunately wasn’t one of my favourite books ever. Let’s get into some reasons why.
One of my main problems with this novel was how cliche it was and a lot of these cliches happened to be huge bookish pet peeves of mine. The first of these is the ‘character has been in love with other character for years and has been watching them without the other knowing’. It’s something which annoyed me when I recently read The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu and also frustrated me when I reread The Hunger Games at the beginning of the year. In this novel, this trope was even more frustrating though because there was an attempt to make it into the ‘reality person is even better than dream person’ except here, the real Charlie was completely perfect and unrealistic. Which brings me to my second issue with this novel.
How many times do I have to be told that Charlie is perfect? Literally, every few pages Charlie was either explicitly called perfect (‘the kiss is perfect just like Charlie’, ‘He’s smart and sweet and thoughtful and hardworking and all sorts of other good things’) or there was an example of why Charlie was is so perfect and by the end I was almost literally pulling my hair out. This was annoying for so many reasons. The first is that being so called ‘perfect’ means Charlie has no depth. For a while I thought there might be something beneath the surface when he was a bit cagey about not swimming anymore. It turned out he had got drunk and injured himself but all that was said about it was that he ‘didn’t want to be that guy’ (not a direct quote) and then it was gone. And in the end he ended up swimming again anyway and taking part in a race that literally so one saw him losing ever. And that was Charlie. That was it.
The other annoying part about the constant references to Charlie being perfect though, was that, for me anyway, he wasn’t always as great as Katie seemed to think he was. When they first meet properly (dead cat conversation not included) Katie is rightfully angry about him reading her notebook without her permission. It ends up getting sorted and Katie is smitten because Charlie asks her out. Great, except Charlie never apologises for invading her privacy and even worse, Katie ends up thanking him for ‘not invading too much’. In addition to this, when they go to Garver’s party and discuss moving onto Zoe’s, Charlie is pretty pushy with Katie about it. After Katie is finally adamant that she can’t go, she points out that Charlie ‘doesn’t even seem mad about it’ which I just personally feel is giving him a lot of credit and brownie (perfect) points for something that shouldn’t be that big of a deal: he would be a jerk to get mad at her. Later on, when Katie finally decides she wants to go to Zoe’s, Morgan checks with Katie that she actually wants to go the party when she tells Katie ‘you do not have to go to Zoe’s just because you think that’s what Charlie wants to do.’ A+ friending here but I do wish that Charlie had checked with Katie too instead of going along with it straight away because that’s what he wanted. In sum then, not a massive Charlie fan.
Next cliche I hate, and if you’ve read my blog before and read this novel you’ll know what I’m about to say…the cliche popular b*tch, namely Zoe. As always, Zoe is so cliche and so old-fashioned and I actually don’t understand why she needs to be in there at all. She doesn’t create any real drama or tension, she is literally just there to be a b*tch. Even worse is that fact that Zoe is used to create girl on girl hate, like when Katie says ‘I don’t even want to think about any of those mindless zombies grinding on Charlie. They don’t deserve a guy like him.’ Why do we need this narrative in this book? It could be taken out and the story wouldn’t be changed a bit and I just do not enjoy it at all. What’s even more annoying is that at some points there is some really good female empowerment and representation in this novel like when Katie thinks Charlie should contact her first and Morgan tells her ‘you’re a hot, young, badass woman in charge of her own life, and you text him whenever you damn well please.’ Yes, this! So why do have to have the cliche popular b*tches in there too?
There are other problematic moments too, though, like the classic ‘I’m/you’re not like most girls’ cliche where Katie says ‘something tells me Charlie Reed has never had to work hard to get a girl, and I need him to know I’m different.’ Literally all I could think at this moment was, most girls much? (and I wanted to go tell Katie to go listen to ‘Most Girls’ by Hailee Steinfeld!) This was a continuing theme in the book of Katie and Charlie as individuals and in their relationship being placed above everyone else, like with the ‘Charlie’s so perfect narrative’ and when Katie suggests that ‘most guys would be running for the hills and thanking their lucky stars I let them off the hook so easily’ but not Charlie of course. All of this just made me not bothered about the protagonists of this novel. For me to root for characters they need to be relateable and have their flaws and for me the two principle characters in this novel didn’t really have either of those things.
So there we have it, my rather negative review of Midnight Sun by Trish Cook. Unfortunately this book just contained a lot of my bookish pet peeves which meant I wasn’t a huge fan, but let me know if you loved this book, I would love to hear your opinions. Or, if you are also not a huge fan of this book, let me know that too and we can discuss! This book has also just been made into a film so are you planning on going to see it? Spoiler, I’m not, but based on other things I have seen her in I do think that Bella Thorne is great casting for Katie!
As always, happy reading!